In April 2000 75 organizations listed on VolunteerMatch or Action Without Borders as recruiting online volunteers were asked to complete a brief e-mailsurvey. 12 organizations responded. Two of these organizations responded only that, while they were listed on VolunteerMatch as having virtual volunteering opportunities available, they actually didn't at all. Like last year not all of these organizations understood that they had listed themselves online as having virtual volunteering opportunities available, nor did some of these organizations understand, despite our careful wording of the survey, that we were asking ONLY about online volunteers (also true of last year's survey).
Complete answers to all survey questions are available here on our web site. The name and contact information for those who responded is not shown in this archive.
This summary information is compiled from the answers to our survey for agencies:
1 Washington, DC
1 New Jersey
1 New Hampshire
1 International (based outside the United States)
3 local (city, county, small region)
3 state or large region
1 international (they serve constinuencies outside the agency's country of origin)
1 international (based outside the United States)
1 Member of the board
3 Executive Director
3 Program/volunteer/technology director
1 Marketing Coordinator/Webmaster
4 Volunteer recruiting, supervising and training
3 Directing and developing/coordinating volunteer programs
1 Refering online volunteers to agencies
1 Webmaster (placing ads for volunteers)
1 did not answer
3 or 30 % Over one hundred
5 or 50 % From 30 to one hundred
2 or 20 % From 0 to 29
30 % of all agencies said that they received most responses from VolunteerMatch and the sites that link to VolunteerMatch.
6 organizations or 60 % provided more information about the project and the organization via email and asked volunteers for more information
3 organizations or 30 % asked to complete an application online or via email
1 organization or 10 % immediately sent them the assignment to get started on
EVERY organization provided next steps and did some kind of followup with the potential volunteers.
NONE provided an online orientation for the volunteers.
1 organization or 10 % recruited 10 or more online volunteers
3 organizations or 30 % recruited less than 10 online volunteers
2 organizations or 20 % said no volunteer has started or completed any online assignments so far
3 organizations did not know
1 organization did not answer
3 organizations said the volunteer did not respond to the organization's followup email, didn't complete an application or just quit responding altogether
2 organizations said the volunteers were not prepared for online work or didn't have the flexibility or dedication
2 organizations said the potential volunteer(s) email address(es) were refused or undeliverable
1 organization said the lack of human contact created a gap between them and the volunteer(s)
2 did not answer
3 organizations involved volunteers in Web design and maintenance
4 organizations involved volunteers in research and writing articles
1 organizations involved volunteers in compiling a database
2 did not answer
6 organizations had email exchanges with potential online volunteers
2 organizations had in-person interviews with potential online volunteers
1 organization had agency do screening and reference checks
1 did not answer
5 organizations regularly checked in with volunteers to see how it was going
2 organizations said they cited online volunteers in their organizations newsletters
1 organization send out awards once a month to the online volunteer of the month
2 organizations said they don't have any volunteer to reward at this point
6 organizations had no meaningful response or did not know
1 organization said posting jobs on www.volunteermatch.org
1 organization said having a volunteer manager and written task descriptions
1 organization cited the fact that the whole organization is itself virtual and communicates mostly over email
1 member of a organization said that she herself pushes virtual volunteering and is responsible for its success
"Limited staff and lack of timely follow-up"
"Little technological skills on the organization's side"
"Too much time between the moment they sign up and the time a volunteer orientation is held"
"Lack of understanding as to how VolunteerMatch works on the organization's side, will include information about the organization first"
"No followup from volunteers, hard to make contact with them"
2 organizations hadn't any problems at all
2 organizations did not answer
1 organization would like to develop an orientation and recognition system to reduce drop-out
1 organization would like to know how to record online volunteer hours and progress
1 organization would like help with blending vision and their technological needs
1 organization would like to get ideas on what people can do for them online
1 organization needs help with recruiting the right volunteers (with special knowledge)
2 organizations did not answer
1 organization needs no assistance
"It would be helpful if there was a way to remove volunteers that are no longer want to volunteers with you."
"We love VolunteerMatch! But we'd like to retain the people they send to us."
"I recommend using the volunteermatch site to any and all who are looking for volunteers/looking to volunteer. It is an easy site to use and update. One flaw is the three month time limit. I like to post volunteer opportunities many months in advance, but cannot accurately do so on volunteermatch (you have to play with the dates). Virtual volunteering is VERY new for most people, and although a wonderful opportunity for both the agency and the volunteer, I believe it will take some time before it is a common practice. Additionally, as a small agency, there is much staff time spent on answering interested volunteer e-mail, with a very small number actually volunteering. To cut down on time spent, I write a complete responce once, save it in a file, and use it to reply to all - adding personal comments when necessary."
"Very frustrating experience, all these people email they want to help and when we say sure, come on over and give us a hand they tend to disappear."
"I've been thrilled with the repsonse from VolunteerMatch. We have a website locally and if on the last year I received more than 5 referrals from it I'd be amazed. This is significantly critical in that our local Volunteer center has died and United Way wants to convene a task force to study the needs instaed of moving on connecting people!"
"We have 2 technical assistant virtual volunteers working in our office. One is a computer programmer who writes software for us and updates donated hardware. The other trained staff and volunteers in new software. We also referred a Sun City resident to a virtual volunteer job not posted. She was a retired professional librarian and searched the internet for books on a certain subject for an agency and helped them set up a library on the internet. We are developing our own web site which we hope to link with both www.serviceleader.org and www.volunteermatch.org."
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